The three main forms in which vanilla is used in commercial preparations
Flavoring food with vanilla may be achieved by adding vanilla extract or by cooking vanilla pods in the liquid preparation. A stronger aroma will be attained if the pods are split in two, exposing more of the pod's surface area to the liquid in which you have dropped the pods.
When it is done like this pod' seeds are mixed into the preparation. Natural vanilla gives a yellow or brown color to the preparation, depending upon the concentration. Vanilla of good quality has a strong aromatic flavor.
The major use of vanilla is in flavoring ice creams.
People generally consider this flavor to be the default flavor of ice creams. Though vanilla is said to be the rich flavoring agent on its own, it is also used to enhance the flavor of lot of other substances like caramel, custard coffee and so on. In the cosmetic industry it is used as scent for many products and they are also used in the perfume manufacturing.
In the old medicinal literature, vanilla was described as aphrodisiac and it is also used for the treatment of fevers. But, all these are not scientifically proven. Vanilla is also considered as mildly addictive.
The essential oils present in them are used in aroma therapy.
Vanilla comes under the tropical fruit category. Vanilla is generally used as a flavoring which is derived from the orchids. Though it is a fruit by nature, they are very extensively used as a spice or a flavoring agent. Vanilla is the one edible fruit of the orchid family, which is the largest flowering plant in the world.
The United States is the world's major consumer of vanilla, followed by Europe. Around 1500 tons of dried vanilla are been produced worldwide each year. Since vanilla is in so much of demand and expensive as well, most often synthetics are used instead of natural vanilla. 97% of vanilla used as a flavoring agent is synthetic.
The dairy industry uses the major percentage of the world's vanilla in ice creams. Vanilla plant is the world's most labor-intensive agricultural crop.There are nearly 150 varieties of vanilla plants out of which only two are used commercially, which include bourbon and Tahitian. The second most expensive spice next to saffron is vanilla.
It is expensive because of the extensive labor required to grow the vanilla seed pods. Regardless of the expense, it is highly valued for its amazing flavor and is used in both domestic and commercial purpose like aromatherapy, baking, perfume manufacturing and so on.